by Cat, Feb 2008 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Nothing beats a good soft, creamy pudding as comfort food, and chocolate is one of the best. However, because these puddings typically contain a lot of sugar, they should not be indulged frequently. Except for special occasions, I prefer to use stevia or a mixture of stevia and sugar, honey or maple syrup to sweeten creamy puddings.
The base for creamy puddings is a stove-top custard made with milk/cream and eggs. Chocolate goes well with coconut, and substituting the cream with coconut milk is an interesting twist. However, I don’t recommend replacing the milk with coconut milk, as the protein in dairy milk is important for the texture of the custard.
Using a double boiler
I prefer to cook stove-top creamy puddings in a double boiler so the milk doesn’t scorch. To use a double boiler, add water to lower portion, not so much that the upper portion gets wet on the bottom when set on top. Bring water to a boil. Add ingredients to upper portion, then set over the boiling water. Stir mixture frequently, and check water level in lower portion so that it doesn’t boil dry. Pudding may never come to a full boil but will come close, and the pudding will be very thick.
You can also cook pudding in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir constantly so milk doesn’t scorch, until pudding comes to a full boil. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few minutes. I don’t like this method as well because it is so easy for the pudding to scorch.
This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens’ bhg.com website (but the link no longer works and I cannot find the recipe on their new webpage) and Stevia: Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More! by Rita DePuydt. Serves 6 – 8.
Baking cocoa/chocolate are quite bitter and unsweetened, so that more sweetener is required, the equivalent of 1 ¾ cup sugar. To minimize the amount of sugar in this recipe, I use part honey or maple syrup, and part stevia. Use the proportions listed under ingredients, or you could use ⅜ cup (6 Tbsp) honey or maple syrup, and ½ tsp stevia extract powder (or 2 tsp dark liquid stevia extract), for the same equivalent sweetness.
The original recipe uses cornstarch to thicken the pudding, but most commercial cornstarch is GMO. To avoid that, buy Organic cornstarch, or cornstarch from a company that pledges not to use GMO corn (such as Bob’s Red Mill). Or you can use a different starch such as tapioca starch, but be aware that the amount to use may be different; see Starch Equivalents for more on this.
Chocolate and coconut go wonderfully together, so be sure to try this recipe using coconut milk instead of cream.
This recipe doesn’t use a double boiler, but I highly recommend using one (see instructions, above); however, the cooking time will be greater.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 3 tsp dark liquid stevia extract (or ½ – ¾ tsp stevia extract powder)*
- 3 Tbsp local honey or Grade-B maple syrup, or 3 ½ Tbsp Rapadura or white cane sugar*
- 3 Tbsp Organic or non-GMO cornstarch or 6 Tbsp (¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp) tapioca starch (see also Starch Equivalents)
- 1 cup light cream (or diluted coconut milk)
- 2 cups whole milk (not homogenized)
- ⅓ cup baking cocoa, or 1 ½ squares baking chocolate (unsweetened); be sure to use an Organic Free Trade brand
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 ½ tsp real vanilla extract
- small bowl
- 3 quart saucepan
- egg whisk or wooden spoon
- waxed paper
- Beat egg yolks lightly in small bowl; set aside.
- Combine cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup of the milk; whisk well to dissolve.
- Combine sweeteners in medium saucepan. If using honey, add a pinch of baking soda. Whisk in milk, cream and milk/starch mixture. Add cocoa/chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and incorporated.
- Heat, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; careful, it greatly increases in volume. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.
- Remove from heat. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of hot mixture into lightly beaten egg yolks. Then add this mixture back into pudding mixture in saucepan.
- Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and whisk constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter with vanilla until blended.
- Pour pudding into a large bowl. Cover surface with waxed paper. Refrigerate 4 – 5 hours, or until well chilled.